Bait 3D DVD Review (Kirk Haviland)

Bait 3D DVD 

Starring Xavier Samuel, Sharni Vinson, Alex Russell, Phoebe Tonkin and Julian McMahon

Written by Russell Mulcahy and John Kim (with additional writing by Shayne Armstrong, Duncan Kennedy, Shane Krause and Justin Monjo).

Directed by Kimble Rendall

From the Gold Coast of Australia Anchor Bay Entertainment brings us Bait 3D on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film stars a cast of rising stars from Australia including Xavier Samuel (Loved Ones, Twilight Saga: Eclipse), Sharni Vinson (Step Up 3D, You’re Next), Alex Russell (Chronicle) and Phoebe Tonkin (TV’s The Secret Circle, Tomorrow, When the War Began). The cast is further rounded out with some veteran presence in the form of Julian McMahon. The question remains with the overabundance of Shark based thrillers out there is Bait more part Jaws or Sharktopus?

After a gargantuan freak tsunami hits a sleepy beach community in Australia a group of survivors, including store staff Josh (Samuel) and Ryan (Russell), Josh’s former fiancée Tina (Vinson), Police Officer Todd and his daughter Jaimie (Tonkin), and the untrustworthy Doyle (McMahon) find themselves trapped inside a submerged grocery store. As they try to escape to safety they soon discover that there is a predator among them more deadly than the threat of drowning – multiple vicious great white sharks are lurking in the water. As the bloodthirsty sharks begin to pick the survivors off one by one, the group realizes that they must work together to find a way out without being eaten alive.

Bait 3D establishes from the beginning that this is not a serious thriller out to uphold the Jaws legacy. It clearly has its tongue firmly planted in cheek. Why the script went through six writers is beyond me as the dialogue is pedestrian and the “twist” obvious to anyone watching the film well before the people in the film discover it. There is a lot of the traditional paint by numbers in the story, but the thing that keeps its forward momentum is the camp factor allowing for some humorous sequences and some decent death scenarios. I say scenarios because the deaths themselves come at the hand of one of the worst realized sharks I’ve seen in a theatrical production (it is playing theatrically in Australia but will be direct to video in North America) and play for laughs not scares. The young cast does manage to represent themselves well here and it’s obvious as to which of these actors are the ones that are already making inroads in not only Australia but Hollywood as well. McMahon serves as senior statesman here and perfectly encapsulates the charming, smarmy guy you know you should never trust but you still do. The setting of the film is actually pretty ingenious and the physical set, set decoration, and physical effects all add to the sense of claustrophobia and urgency of the film. The CGI portions do let the film down considerably as they never appear realistic at any time. Sadly Bait would have been better served with a “Jaws the shark isn’t working” type scenario that would have forced them to get more creative.

Ultimately there is a lot of fun to be had with Bait 3D, while it will never win any awards it does enough that it could easily become a cult classic. While Bait 3D will not be for everybody, there will be a lot who hate it outright and will claim I am losing my mind, I still must give it a Recommend.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

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Chronicle Review – Kirk Haviland Guest Blogging

Chronicle – 2012

Starring – Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B Jordan

Written by Max Landis and Josh Trank

Directed by Josh Trank

Hello Folks,

While The Maven himself is frolicking in the south of France (tough gig right?), I, the Movie Junkie that I am, will be hopping around Toronto checking out films and reporting back to you guys (as much as my “day job” will allow that is). Thanks to Matt, the Maven himself, for the support and platform to bring my opinion to this many-opinionated ring that is film criticism. Now on to the film…

I did not know a whole hell of a lot about Chronicle before stepping into the theater, which was very refreshing, given this age in which Hollywood often gives away everything in the trailer before the film actually comes out. Chronicle has also been backed by a brilliant advertising campaign that did more to peak curiosity and raise questions, rather than the “here’s a stunt, doesn’t it look pretty” mentality. In many ways it was reminiscent of the brilliant PR work done for last year’s great Troll Hunter.

As for the plot, Chronicle opens on Andrew Detmer (DeHann) as he sets up his “new” camcorder, which he plans to use for recording all the events in his fractured family, all while his father pounds on his bedroom door, demanding to come in. And you thought this would be a flight of fancy. We are soon treated to a day in the life of Andrew, as his relationships with the people surrounding him come into focus. Among them are Matt Garetty (Russell), who we discover is actually Andrew’s cousin and knows all too well what is going on, and Steve Montgomery (Jordan) who is the “popular jock” character. Matt and Steve discover something intriguing and drag Andrew along to document the proceedings and outcome. While I won’t get into their discovery, if you’ve seen any of the advertisements for the film, then you’ll know that these three start showing abnormal abilities and chaos inevitably entails.

Chronicle is a “found footage” film that may have been better suited playing it straight, especially because it becomes something of a burden to continually explain the presence of the cameras throughout the film. I feel strongly that Chronicle did not need this gimmick, but at least the camera work is not the typical extremely shaky style that films like Devil Inside have used so poorly in the past.  Regular people don’t move the camera around that much, so why would characters making a film? Chronicle could have been served better as a traditional 3rd person narrative with 1st person inserts. We understand that Andrew is using the camera to hide behind, and if we didn’t, then one of the characters spells it out for us. We don’t need the camera to be omnipresent to get the point. That said, the performances from a cast of mainly newer faces is solid and the story takes a dark turn I was only too happy to see. This is the darker side of TV shows like Misfits and Heroes.

Ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised I enjoyed this film as much as I did, since it is being hailed by some as “the superhero movie as seen by the Facebook generation”. Don’t let this dissuade you. Chronicle is just a damn good film that deserves everyone’s attention.

Till next time

Kirk “Movie Junkie T.O.” Haviland

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